Unlicensed real estate activity Florida

** This is not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this subject, please seek competent legal counsel.

** We are presenting this information purely for informational purposes. This is not an attempt to influence or discourage anyone from doing or not doing anything.

Penalties for Unlicensed Practice of Real Estate

The crime of Unlicensed Practice of Real Estate is classified as a Third Degree Felony and assigned a Level 1 offense severity ranking under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Unlicensed Practice of Real Estate in Florida, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

We are sharing what was discussed at our recent event: SWFL REIA Monthly Luncheon, January 7, 2016 | 11:00 AM about unlicensed real estate activity Florida

A special thanks to Rachel Carnicelli, Unlicensed Activity Investigator for coming to the meeting and presenting.

Here is her contact information

Direct: (407) 650-4363 and Rachel.Carnicelli@MyFloridaLicense.com

Here is a copy of the handout

First and foremost Florida Statue 475 click here

475.01 Definitions.

(1) As used in this part:

(a) “Broker” means a person who, for another, and for a compensation or valuable consideration directly or indirectly paid or promised, expressly or impliedly, or with an intent to collect or receive a compensation or valuable consideration therefor, appraises, auctions, sells, exchanges, buys, rents, or offers, attempts or agrees to appraise, auction, or negotiate the sale, exchange, purchase, or rental of business enterprises or business opportunities or any real property or any interest in or concerning the same, including mineral rights or leases, or who advertises or holds out to the public by any oral or printed solicitation or representation that she or he is engaged in the business of appraising, auctioning, buying, selling, exchanging, leasing, or renting business enterprises or business opportunities or real property of others or interests therein, including mineral rights, or who takes any part in the procuring of sellers, purchasers, lessors, or lessees of business enterprises or business opportunities or the real property of another, or leases, or interest therein, including mineral rights, or who directs or assists in the procuring of prospects or in the negotiation or closing of any transaction which does, or is calculated to, result in a sale, exchange, or leasing thereof, and who receives, expects, or is promised any compensation or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly therefor; and all persons who advertise rental property information or lists. A broker renders a professional service and is a professional within the meaning of s. 95.11(4)(a). Where the term “appraise” or “appraising” appears in the definition of the term “broker,” it specifically excludes those appraisal services which must be performed only by a state-licensed or state-certified appraiser, and those appraisal services which may be performed by a registered trainee appraiser as defined in part II. The term “broker” also includes any person who is a general partner, officer, or director of a partnership or corporation which acts as a broker. The term “broker” also includes any person or entity who undertakes to list or sell one or more timeshare periods per year in one or more timeshare plans on behalf of any number of persons, except as provided in ss. 475.011 and 721.20.

Mrs. Carnicelli did share the following after the meeting in regards to unlicensed real estate activity Florida.

As promised, after seeking guidance from our Office of General Counsel, I am forwarding Florida Statute 475.43 for your review. This is the statute dealing with presumptions regarding unlicensed activity and substantial consideration. For those of you who like to read case law, please use the link below to read a Florida Supreme Court case, Old Port Cove Holdings, Inc., v. Old Port Cove Condominium Ass’n One, Inc., 986 So. 2d 1279 (Fla. 2008), which also deals with this subject matter.

Case law link: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=11893346149393893891&q=986+So.+2d+1279&hl=en&as_sdt=4,10

I hope that these will be helpful to you. As you know, the Division of Real Estate is prohibited from providing any legal advice. Should you need further clarification regarding this issue, please seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in Florida real estate law.


Rachel Carnicelli
Unlicensed Activity Investigator
DBPR | Division of Real Estate
Bureau of Enforcement

Edit as of 1/19/2015 1:22 PM

475.43 Presumptions.In all criminal cases, contempt cases, and other cases filed pursuant to this chapter, if a party has sold, leased, or let real estate, the title to which was not in the party when it was offered for sale, lease, or letting, or such party has maintained an office bearing signs that real estate is for sale, lease, or rental thereat, or has advertised real estate for sale, lease, or rental, generally, or describing property, the title to which was not in such party at the time, it shall be a presumption that such party was acting or attempting to act as a real estate broker, and the burden of proof shall be upon him or her to show that he or she was not acting or attempting to act as a broker or sales associate. All contracts, options, or other devices not based upon a substantial consideration, or that are otherwise employed to permit an unlicensed person to sell, lease, or let real estate, the beneficial title to which has not, in good faith, passed to such party for a substantial consideration, are hereby declared void and ineffective in all cases, suits, or proceedings had or taken under this chapter; however, this section shall not apply to irrevocable gifts, to unconditional contracts to purchase, or to options based upon a substantial consideration actually paid and not subject to any agreements to return or right of return reserved.